A native of Poland, since the early 1990’s, Bloch works and lives in Chicago. Initially trained as a painter, in the last several years she expanded her practice to multimedia platform. Mixed media, installation, performance, video and research became a part of her artistic vocabulary. In her work, through the visual narratives, she addresses the issues of identity as an ongoing and ever changing negotiation between self perception and the mold formed by the social and institutional expectations in which one’s singularity is cast.
The works on paper in this series, Of The Essence, are an evolution of my past work dealing with feminine iconography and identity. Whereas my previous works were centered on specific and highly representational depictions of women, my new series has become a wider space for me to explore notions of the feminine in art, culture, and my own practice as a female artist.
In this work, far beyond a mere collage of figure on ground, I hope to recombine and recontextualize my formal relationship with my work, inserting along with it some of my own content.
The installation Unraveling marks the starting point of Of The Essence. Literally an unraveled remnant of my old oil painting, the string and the chips of paint, and the new lightly knitted canvas-to-be opens up the dialogue between the old and the new.
In Of The Essence, formally loose, haphazard gestures are layered under collaged digital prints of the same, featureless female figure, whose anonymity allows for her to be read more in a symbolic sense than a specific one. Her surroundings, these washy grounds of inks, acrylics and nail polish on paper, are created in direct opposition to the classical, tightly rendered oil paintings of my earlier works: here, I employ the nature of the media to spill, spread, drip and puddle the material on the surface, resulting in a chaotic and abstract yet, to some degree, highly anticipated environment.
Whether the woman is defining her environment, responding to the gestural marks or even directly interacting with them like another “figure,” her role is always changing, formally and metaphorically complicating the notion of the feminine.
The most distinctive element in the series is the three-dimensional string, an unraveled canvas, running across the works, often breaking the rectangle of the paper and spilling out into the frame or onto the wall, this string serves to not only tie the pieces together formally, but conceptually –dismantling the former, rigid construct to aid the creation of a new, less bounded space for understanding.